Sunday 18 March 2018

A Tale of Two Stories

You may have read BBC Technology correspondent Dave Lee's BBC News website report Facebook suspends controversial data firm Cambridge Analytica yesterday, or the Home page report on it yesterday evening headlined Trump campaign data firm accused of harvesting Facebook data, or even the write-up about The Observer's front page story about it on James Stephenson's favourite page of the BBC website, The Papers, this morning. 

Of if you don't bother with the BBC News website and were merely watching the BBC News Channel then you'll have seen the Observer Cambridge Analytica story discussed as one of the chosen items by Professor Jon Tonge on this morning's BBC Breakfast paper review and later by Rachel Shabi and Anne Ashworth on the BBC News Channel's 9.40 am paper review. You'll have seen the report on the story on the channel within the last hour.

Or if you were watching BBC One's The Andrew Marr Show then you'll have seen it discussed by Owen Jones and Jane Moore, and Andrew Marr ask Boris Johnson about it. 

So when the famously honest Alastair Campbell tweets the following this morning - 

- you can see he might not be correct. 

Meanwhile, the Sunday Mirror's latest front page headline - Stopping Sex Gangs 'Too Much Trouble' - Telford Police insider's horrifying claim against force - has been "given a miss". Once again, it wasn't even shown on The Andrew Marr Show, never mind mentioned or discussed. 

That said (just like last Sunday), it is, however, mentioned on James Stephenson's favourite page of the BBC website, The Papers, and BBC Breakfast interviewed the National Lead for Child Protection, Chief Constable Simon Bailey, who seemed particularly keen to tell us not to focus on the "Asian descent" grooming gang aspect of the story but to think of child abuse as being a much broader phenomenon and one that mostly takes place in the family home. I'd have hoped that Naga would have put the remarkable claims in today's Sunday Mirror about police attitudes in Telford to Mr. Bailey but, alas, she didn't.  

1 comment:

  1. "Obama, Facebook and the power of friendship: the 2012 data election"

    'At the core is a single beating heart – a unified computer database that gathers and refines information on millions of committed and potential Obama voters. The database will allow staff and volunteers at all levels of the campaign – from the top strategists answering directly to Obama's campaign manager Jim Messina to the lowliest canvasser on the doorsteps of Ohio – to unlock knowledge about individual voters and use it to target personalised messages that they hope will mobilise voters where it counts most.

    Every time an individual volunteers to help out – for instance by offering to host a fundraising party for the president – he or she will be asked to log onto the re-election website with their Facebook credentials. That in turn will engage Facebook Connect, the digital interface that shares a user's personal information with a third party.

    Consciously or otherwise, the individual volunteer will be injecting all the information they store publicly on their Facebook page – home location, date of birth, interests and, crucially, network of friends – directly into the central Obama database.

    "If you log in with Facebook, now the campaign has connected you with all your relationships," a digital campaign organiser who has worked on behalf of Obama says.' this apparently is "The power of friendship".

    Note particularly the use of 'consciously or otherwise'.

    Is this so different to the method of data collection so condemned by Cambridge Analytica?

    'Prof Kogan is said to have created an app called “thisisyourdigitallife”. It was accessed by approximately 270,000 people, Facebook said.

    "In so doing, they gave their consent for [Prof] Kogan to access information such as the city they set on their profile, or content they had liked, as well as more limited information about friends who had their privacy settings set to allow it.”'

    Seems to me the only clear distinction is that Obama was the guy the Grauniad wanted to win, thus it's the 'power of friendship', whereas with Cambridge Analytica it was on behalf of the guy the BBC wanted to lose, so they are 'controversial'.


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